Matthew Lombardi explains the new OneEleven’s new focus

Rebooted 111 OneEleven in covid

In April of last year, Toronto tech hub and incubator OneEleven abruptly shut down, with its board citing COVID-19 as the reason. By October, OneEleven was back open under new ownership and leadership.

“Maybe it’s not quite good enough to just be a collision space. Maybe we have to add a new capability to the arsenal.”
– Matthew Lombardi

The non-profit, then for-profit, was now a subsidiary of non-profit OCI, formerly called OCE (the Ontario Centres of Excellence), which was one of the original founding organizations behind the original OneEleven. Still with me?

There’s a lot I’m skipping over in between about the how, the who, and the why OneEleven was shut down. That’s not our focus for today (if you want to learn more, check out all the stories BetaKit broke last year, linked above).

Suffice it to say, a lot of people were pissed off that OneEleven was shut down. And a lot of people were happy that it re-opened. And people in both those groups were interested to see what the ‘new’ OneEleven would look like.

To answer that question, we have on the podcast this week OneEleven’s new managing director, Matthew Lombardi. Lombardi goes into detail on OneEleven’s new focus on talent upskilling of the startups within its portfolio, and how Venture For Canada plays a role. We also discuss what it means to run a ‘collision space’ in the middle of Canada’s third wave.


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Black Swan is a BetaKit podcast. Hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Sponsored by Xero. Produced with support from TWG.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.